Moving on with the division by division preview for this year, either optimistic or delusional that a season will take place. As before, the teams are addressed in order of how I think they will finish, with the caveat that a shortened season becomes more unpredictable since streaks take up a larger percentage of whatever season there is.
Oakland A’s. They, the original money ball/low budget team, have made the wild card game each of the past two years. They picked a couple newcomers in Tony Kemp and Austin Allen, but no big names. They have a couple pitchers about to start their first “full” MLB season in AJ Puk (coming back off injury) and Jesus Luzardo. Mostly, though, they have the same team as last year, which won 97 games.
Houston Astros. Why do I have the 2019 AL pennant winner coming in second? First, no more Gerritt Cole. Second, I believe the sign stealing scandal really isn’t going away. They should be hoping the games aren’t in front of live fans to start with…if they thought crowds of 3-5000 fans booing were loud, they ain’t heard nothing yet. Regardless, the distraction will be ever-present via media interviews. Third, repeating is always hard. On the plus side for the Astros, the late start will mean Justin Verlander misses no time. They also welcome Austin Pruitt, erstwhile of the Rays.
Los Angeles Angels. They’ve picked up Anthony Rendon, Julio Teheran, and Dylan Bundy. Zack Cozart is back from the 60-day IL. The late start will also mean Shohei Ohtani should be pitching from the get-go. They’ve clearly improved, but still need pitching and aren’t yet a playoff caliber team.
Texas Rangers. Their big pick up was a good one—Corey Kluber. They also picked up Todd Frazier and welcome back Joey Gallo and Willie Calhoun back from injury. They also get a shiny, brand new playground. I’ve half-jokingly suggested that the “old” park be carefully take down and reassembled in central FL for the Rays—it’s brother far nicer and newer than Tropicana.
Seattle Mariners. They’ve resigned Taijuan Walker and obtained Adam Hill via trade. Austin Adams is out for the year due to a ruptured right ACL. Not much to say really…they will not be competitive.